Every Good Book Needs a Narrator

Kirsten Leigh was the narrator for Cinder & Ella. She graciously agreed to an interview as part of the 2nd Anniversary party. Thanks for giving us some insight into what you do, Kirsten!

 

How did you get started in the narrating business?
I went to school for acting and have both a BFA and MFA and one of my grad school classmates was working at Brickshop narrating books and asked if I’d be interested coming in for an audition for a book they were having trouble casting. So I sat down in front of a mic and read the audition and booked the job. And I booked the next job and the next one, etc…. It’s pretty much turned into my life.

What advice would you give to folks just getting started in audiobook narration?
The advice I’d give is to constantly be talking to yourself. Say things in different voices. Listen to the way other people sound and what makes their voice distinct. Try to mimic them. Talk along with the TV or other audiobooks. Don’t be afraid to sound like an idiot. Most of the business is acting out love scenes with yourself in different voices in a dark box. It’s weird. Embrace it.

How do you prepare for a book narration?
I prepare by reading the book (I use an iPad and the program GoodReads), marking notes where needed and recording each new character’s voice on an audio note on my phone. That way I have a point of reference, especially if the book is a part of a series and characters return.

How many hours a day can you perform?
I’m usually good recording 4 hours at a time. I reach my limit at 5 hours. It’s a lot of work for your vocal cords and brain.

How do you keep your voice healthy and happy?
I drink a LOT of water. Like, a crazy amount. I steer clear of yogurt and cheese and anything creamy before recording because I get phlegmy, and I try to keep a full stomach so it doesn’t growl while I’m recording.

What is the funniest thing that’s happened while recording?
OOOOOHHHHH man. so much funny stuff happens in that booth. In one of my first books I had to narrate a love scene in which a man lovingly licked his partner’s armpit. That was fun. I’m constantly snickering and the types of food used on people’s bodies while “making love.” The many words used for genitals still make me giggle.

What was your favorite scene in Cinder & Ella to narrate?
Oh man. It’s really hard to pick a favorite scene in this book. It has very special meaning to me. My mother, whom I was very close with, passed away unexpectedly last summer. She was an avid audiobook listener. I never told her my pseudonym because I’ve read some pretty hot and heavy stuff, but Cinder & Ella was recommended to her by Audible and when she called me to tell me that in the first minute she knew it was me, and absolutely loved the book and was so so proud of me, I was really glad she got to hear something I’d done. So yeah, this book holds a pretty special place in my heart.

Do you have any favorite audiobooks?
I actually like Jon Krakauer’s audiobooks. Into This Air is amazing. I know, I know, I guess because I read romance all day, I listen to the opposite. But reading off the page is my all-time favorite.

Which book that you’ve narrated is your favorite?
Like I said, Cinder & Ella is very special to me. I also really enjoyed reading Staci Hart’s Bad Habits series, and anything Sawyer Bennett writes is fun/steamy to read.

What are you working on now?
Right now I’m in the middle of The Price Family books (a series) by Nadia Lee and the Please Series by Willow Summers as well as the verrry end of the In The Shadows series by PT Michelle. All fantastic reads.

Who is your favorite narrator?
Favorite narrators have got to be Lee Samuels and Ryan West. I am paired with them a lot and I love their voices and styles. They perfectly complement mine… 😉

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